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Open Land Use Map

  • General

    The INSPIRE Community Forum is now part of the INSPIRE helpdesk system, based on GitHub (, so please start there any new discussions.

    The current platform will remain available in read only mode in its current form and URL address until 31/01/2021, then its content will be archived and then published in a different URL which will be announced when it becomes available.

The Plan4business project (2012-2014) has identified a gap in land use data availability, especially outside big cities, in suburban and rural areas. The Urban Atlas of the European Environmental Agency covers only cities above 100,000 inhabitants. So for example in the Czech Republic, only 13 cities are covered. For the rest, there is the Corine Land Cover, which can be used only for regional and national analysis.

The lack of land use data on local level led to an idea of combining data from various sources and of different levels of detail into a seamless map. This idea has been picked up by the SDI4Apps project and turned into a pilot application (Pilot IV: Open Land Use Map through Volunteered Geographic Information). The innovative aspect of the pilot is not only in the methodology of combining data into a seamless database, but also in using crowdsourcing for data collection and update. An important aspect is that data are available as open data.

The methodology is simple:

  1. All available open data from a certain territory are collected and stored in a database.
  2. These data are harmonised into a common data model based on the INSPIRE data specifications on land use and using the same HILUCS classification.
  3. Data of the highest level of detail (usually not covering the entire territory) are combined with data with second highest level of detail and so on (see the figure below).
  4. Data are published for download and as a WMS service.
  5. Data are updated through crowdsourcing, either online based on remote sensing images or directly in the field through a mobile application (not yet implemented).

The aim is to cover the entire Europe and then extend it to a global dataset. The first country that is now completed is the Czech Republic where the following open data sources were used:

  1. Digital cadastre data (RUIAN, highest level of detail)
  2. Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS)
  3. Urban Atlas
  4. CORINE Land Cover

The steps undertaken for combining the data are shown in the following figure. 

The Open Land Use Map in the Czech Republic can be accessed at There you can find more information about the dataset and links for data download. The map can be also inserted into any HTML websites as an embedded object (iframe).

The next country to be covered is Latvia.

  • Tomas MILDORF

    Hi Lena

    We've got the EU coverage at this moment, extending the OLU to Africa and other continents.

    We are now exploring a way how to update the OLU and increase the level of detail by using Copernicus Earth observation data.



  • Alessandro SARRETTA

    By Alessandro SARRETTA

    Dear Tomas,

    looking at the Open Land Use map and products I have a few of questions:

    • I don't see or read any licence associated with the downloaded files. How "open" is it your datasets? I'd see many advantages to explicitly associate a CC (BY or 0) licence to them.
    • you mentioned that "We have currently finished a pan-European Open Land Use Map based on Corine, Urban Atlas, OpenStreetMap": I don't see any information on OpenStreetMap (OSM) as a data source: how was it integrated?
    • Could you confirm that, in the "HilucsV" field, values like 500 indicate a first-level classification, i.e. in this case a general "ResidentialUse"?
    • I think that OpenStreetMap would be in this case (as well as in many other cases) a perfect way to collaboratively collect and share a harmonized (still not INSPIRE compliant :-)) and world-level dataset for land use. I'm a volunteer mapper in OSM, quite interested also for academic applications (I'm a researcher) in land use data. I'd be really happy to interact with you on this topic further.



  • Tomas MILDORF

    Hi Ale

    Thank you for your response and questions.

    We are now working on transferring the data into a new data model. The data will be also updated by a number of additional data sources. The licence is currently open and requires only attribution of the data providers including the Commission for CLC and Urban Atlas.

    Originally, we used also OSM data in Europe, but now the data are without OSM. We used OSM only for the OLU in Africa, where CLC or Urban Atlas are not available.

    I confirm that the value 500 is the first level classification.

    If you could drop me an email to mildorf at, I would get you in touch with the key person who is in charge of OLU and you could discuss with him how the data could be integrated, I mean OSM and OLU data.




  • Lena Hallin-Pihlatie

    By Lena Hallin-Pihlatie

    Hi Tomas,

    The INSPIRE Community Forum is about to close. The contents will be archived (freezed) for later use in the beginning of 2021. Would you like to give us an update on the Open Land Use map initiative before I close this discussion topic in the beginning of next week?

    Kind regards,


  • Tomas MILDORF

    By Tomas MILDORF

    Hi Lena

    We are still in the process of upgrading the OLU database with the new data model and publishing it for reuse.

    We've recently enriched the database with additional information on exposition and slope of each land use area. Similarly will be done for soil quality.

    We've started developing a new data portal in Plan4all that should be published at the beginning of next year.

    Happy Christmas to All!


Land Cover & Use

Land Cover & Use

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